About 40 members of the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce filled the Armed Services YMCA on Tuesday for the monthly Coffee Connection and networking session hosted by the Harker Heights Fire Department.

The featured speaker, Fire Chief Jack Collier, gave a brief history lesson on fire service.

He told the group that fire service has been available since the days when Rome was a city and that Benjamin Franklin was the first fire chief in America.

Collier also provided statistics on his department.

“Harker Heights Fire Department currently employs 44 men and women,” he said, adding that they respond to 3,600 calls per year.

Fire departments are changing with the times and are now called “emergency services,” Collier said, and certifications and training have produced different levels of specialization for people in the firefighting business. With firefighters and paramedics on duty, all fire and medical emergencies are covered.

During a question-and-answer session, Collier said his department will not rescue cats.

“I’ve never seen a cat skeleton in a tree during my whole life. They always seem to find a way to get down.”

After Collier’s presentation, members had the opportunity to network.

“It gives them an opportunity to learn about each other’s businesses,” said Gina Pence, marketing director for the chamber.

Coffee Connection is held the second Tuesday of each month at various locations. For more information, call (254) 699-4999.

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